6 Differences between Co-Working Spaces and Incubators

This is a blog article by BLOCK71 Jakarta. Check out their website for more interesting articles on the start-up space by the community for the community in Indonesia!

A study from Deskmag’s second annual co-working survey has found that co-working spaces have a positive effect on the productivity of their workers. Respondents said that a co-working environment increased their productivity by up to 75% and their business network by as much as 80%.

A co-working environment is very conducive for entrepreneurs who’ve just started building their product because they can broaden their network of like-minded entrepreneurs and receive input on their prototypes.

Besides co-working spaces, incubators also provide working spots on a sharing basis. These two set-ups are highly suitable for startups at their early stages. Although both of them offer spaces for work, co-working spaces and incubators have different goals, services and conditions.

Read on to discover the six differences between co-working spaces and incubators.

1: Price

Co-working spaces provide working spaces on an hourly, monthly or yearly rental basis. The rent in co-working spaces can vary from Rp 50.000 per day to Rp 500.000 per month. Unlike co-working spaces, most incubators provide spaces for very low prices or for free. By offering a percentage of their shares to the incubator, start-ups might be able to obtain free working space.

Some incubators provide subsidised rent at a far lower price compared to co-working spaces, and without requiring exchange or shares in the start-ups.

2: Commitment and time

Incubators have certain expectations of the start-ups that they house. As the incubators put in a substantial amount of effort, time and funding, they expect the start-ups to show some results after a specific period of time. Incubators also tend to review the progress of the start-ups periodically. A number of incubators have programmes that require start-ups to commit as these are running on a fixed time period.

In contrast, start-ups need not present positive results to continue residing in a co-working space, as long as they can foot the rental bill.

3: Mentorship

Co-working spaces usually do not have mentorship programmes that are exclusively tailored for start-ups. If there are such programmes, the start-ups would likely have to pay for enrolment.

Conversely, one of the main offerings provided by incubators are dedicated mentorship and training programmes for startups. Incubators commonly host mentors, who provide coaching on running start-ups.

Both co-working spaces and incubators organise sharing sessions for entrepreneurs to share their experiences. Start-ups within incubators and co-working spaces will have the opportunity to learn from the other co-existing start-ups in the same space.

4: Funding

Co-working spaces do not provide funding to the start-ups in their space. However, co-working spaces usually invite investors, who are looking for start-ups to invest in events. A few co-working spaces in Jakarta are managed by venture capitalists or companies. Therefore, joining a co-working space is also one of the ways to secure access to funding.

Some incubators provide seed funding for the start-ups which have been selected for their programmes. Large corporations tend to show more interest in investing in start-ups that have undergone programmes run by incubators. Similar to co-working spaces, these also allow start-ups to get funding.

5: Network

Both incubators and co-working spaces possess their own networks, which may be relatively extensive and can introduce the right people to you. However, incubators have a stronger interest to connect start-ups as their main goal is to work towards the success of start-ups in their programmes or space.

The success of an incubator can be derived from the number of start-ups that enter their programmes. In view of this, incubators are focused on helping start-ups to grow and succeed.

6: Staff and services

In co-working spaces, the staff can offer the necessary support with regard to all matters on the rental space, but they may not be adequately trained to answer questions concerning the growth of start-ups. At its core, co-working spaces offer the basic workspace and do not have a vested interest in the success of start-ups.

On the other hand, staff in incubators are often well-trained and have a wealth of experience in the start-up environment. Hence, they likely can advise on both space and start-up related queries.


Are you an entrepreneur working on a cool product and looking for more than just a co-working space ? Do apply for a hotdesk here and become part of the exciting community that we offer at BLOCK71 SINGAPORE.

For more great entrepreneur themed articles delivered weekly to your inbox, subscribe to the BLOCK71 newsletter here!

Facebook Instagram Slide-share

Written by

NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store